New Research Reveals Thousands Of Adults With Autism Are Isolated And Ignored, UK

The National Autistic Society (NAS) has launched a new report which reveals that nearly two thirds (63%) of adults with autism in England do not have enough support to meet their needs. Based on the largest ever UK survey on the experiences of adults with autism and their families, it reveals for the first time the miserable daily reality for many thousands of adults with autism who feel isolated and ignored, are unable to access the required support, and are often completely dependent on their families.

The I Exist report signals a new phase in the think differently about autism campaign. It is the first time a major campaign has focussed on the needs of adults with the disability. The findings of the report reveal a devastating lack of services, as one adult with autism told us: “I only received help when I became suicidal and seriously depressed. At this point the help was too late.”

Key findings from the report are:

- Nearly two thirds (63%) of adults with autism do not have enough support to meet their needs.

- 92% of parents are worried about their son or daughter’s future when they are no longer able to care for them.

- 61% of adults with autism rely on their family financially and 40% live with their parents.

- 60% of parents believed that a lack of support has led to higher support needs later on.

- At least 1 in 3 adults with autism are experiencing severe mental health difficulties due to a lack of support.

- 67% of local authorities do not keep a record of how many adults with autism there are in their area and 65% do not even know how many adults with autism they actually support.

Amanda Batten, NAS head of policy and campaigns said: “For too long adults with autism have found themselves isolated and ignored; they struggle to access support and are often dependent on their families. It does not have to be like this – ‘I Exist’ is the message from adults with autism who want their needs understood and the barriers to support removed. The right help at the right time can have a profound effect – we are calling on the government to think, act, and transform lives”.

The NAS is calling on the government to fund a prevalence study into the number of adults with autism in the UK. The survey identified a fundamental problem: neither the Government, nor local authorities, nor primary care trusts know how many adults with autism there are in England. This makes it extremely difficult to plan and deliver the services that people with autism need.

The NAS is calling for better understanding of autism – health and social care staff who carry out assessment should be trained in autism. Many professionals fail to understand the complexities of the condition, which can lead to adults with autism receiving inadequate support. The way services are structured also means many fail to qualify for any support at all. This exclusion from support increases isolation and can escalate to mental health problems and other serious difficulties.

The NAS is calling for a range of support services at the right time to meet the needs of all adults with autism. Many feel isolated, having to rely solely on their parents or family. Increased ‘low level’ support, such as social skills training or access to social groups may prevent needs from escalating and helps those with the condition to gain independence and improve the quality of their lives.

The NAS is calling on the Government to lead the way. Current Government policies do not adequately meet the needs of adults with autism. If this is to change, national leadership is required from the Government.

The I Exist report is launched on 5th February 2008 at The House of Commons. The think differently about autism awareness campaign was launched in October 2007. For more information about the campaign and to download copies of the I Exist report, visit think-differently.

The statistics are for England only. Separate reports were produced for Scotland and Wales. In England, 1,412 adults with autism (18 or over) and their families/carers responded to the survey.

- Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.

- Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.

The National Autistic Society is the UK’s leading charity for people with autistic spectrum disorders and their families. Founded in 1962, it continues to spearhead national and international initiatives and provide a strong voice for all people with autism. The NAS provides a wide range of services to help people with autism and Asperger syndrome live their lives with as much independence as possible.

The NAS relies on the support of its members and donors to continue its vital work for people with autism. To become a member, make a donation or to find out more about the work of the NAS, visit the NAS website autism or call the NAS donation line 08702 33 40 40, (national rates apply).

For more information about autism and for help in your area, call the NAS Autism Helpline on: 0845 070 4004 10am-4pm, Monday to Friday, (local rates apply).

The NAS Autism Services Directory is the UK’s most comprehensive directory of services and events for people with autism. Visit autism/autismdirectory to find autism services and support networks in your area.

National Autistic Society

Swine Flu Daily Update Issued At: 11am Wednesday 8 July 2009. Wales

– The NPHS influenza surveillance scheme, which records reports of diagnoses of flu from more than 300 GP practices across Wales, shows low levels of influenza activity in all parts of Wales. Further detail can be found on the NPHS website.

– The report from 5 July estimates there were 6.1 cases of influenza diagnosed by GPs out of every 100,000 people in Wales – this is the equivalent of 183 people in Wales contacting their GPs with flu like symptoms. Not all of these people will have swine flu and not everyone with flu like symptoms will contact their GP. It is expected that the proportion of influenza cases diagnosed that are due to swine flu will increase as the virus spreads in Wales.

– GPs are no longer being asked to swab people they suspect may have swine flu. Microbiology laboratories will therefore no longer be testing most people suspected of having swine flu.

– There have been 60 laboratory confirmed cases in Wales, with two new cases:

- A 66-year-old male in Newport. His illness is linked to travel from New Zealand. He has been admitted to hospital, been offered antiviral medicine and is recovering. He has underlying health conditions.

- A 56-year-old female from Cardiff. Her illness is linked to travel from Spain. She has been admitted to hospital, been offered antiviral medicine and is recovering.

– There have been 28 clinically presumed cases in Wales. Clinically presumed cases are no longer notified to the NPHS. They are household contacts of cases of swine flu who, because of their symptoms, are presumed to have swine flu but who have not been laboratory tested. In such cases, there is enough evidence that the patient has contracted swine flu for their doctor to treat them. Testing is unnecessary to reach a diagnosis.

– A total of four people with swine flu have been hospitalised in Wales, two of whom have been discharged.

– No further details will be confirmed or denied about cases in order to protect their right to confidentiality.

– There are now 7,644 laboratory confirmed cases in the UK – 60 cases in Wales, 1,377 cases in Scotland, 6,162 cases in England and 45 in Northern Ireland.

– Seven people in the UK with swine flu have died. All had underlying health conditions.

– Swine flu cases have been confirmed in 135 countries. For the latest international figures for the spread of swine flu, visit the website of the World Health Organization at who.int

Comment from Welsh Assembly Government and National Public Health Service for Wales

– Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Tony Jewell, said:

“We knew that there would be an increase in the number of cases and we have robust plans in place to deal with it.

“Scientific advice now is that there will continue to be a rise in the number of cases across the UK and, knowing the infection is circulating we have moved to treatment rather than trying to slow the spread of disease.

“We are now relying on clinical symptoms for diagnosing the illness rather than laboratory tests. Some patients will still be tested as part of our monitoring to get more information about the virus.

“We are also stopping giving preventative medicine to people the patient has been in contact with, unless clinicians determine it is appropriate due to their medical conditions. The focus for antivirals is for at-risk groups, those with chronic conditions, or pregnant women or those under 5, and getting antivirals to these groups within 48 hours to maximise their effectiveness.
“Healthy people with flu-like symptoms should stay at home, check their symptoms on the NHS Direct Wales website and, if they are still concerned, phone their GP – not go to their local surgery or A&E in case they spread the virus to others, especially at-risk groups. The Swine Flu Information Line – 0800 1 513 513 – has also been updated with the latest information.

“Evidence so far suggests that the majority of patients have had relatively mild symptoms and with rest recover within five to seven days. For some, the symptoms have been more severe, and seven people with underlying health conditions have died.

“While we are prepared for this, we are not complacent and people must be vigilant. Our advice to the public remains the same and that is to follow good respiratory and hand hygiene – in short, catch it, bin it, kill it – to help prevent the spread of influenza.”

– Dr Roland Salmon, Director of the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, National Public Health Service for Wales, said:

“Because this particular type of swine flu is new, people have little or no immunity to it. For this reason, we know it will spread across the country eventually.

“Until last week, we have been investigating and responding to individual cases. This has allowed us to learn about the virus, how it spreads and how it affects people. We have learnt that, in the majority of cases it is mild although proving severe for a small minority. Most people recover from infection without the need for hospitalisation or medical care.

“As the disease becomes more widespread in the UK we are changing our approach to focus on treatment, emphasising those people most at risk – people more likely to develop serious illness or complications. These are, particularly, the groups that we encourage to get vaccinated each winter, because they are at risk from seasonal influenza, together with pregnant women and children under 5.

“We advise people to practise good respiratory and hand hygiene to reduce the chance of catching or spreading the virus. If people think they may have flu and want to check their symptoms they can call the Swine Flu Information Line on 0800 1 513 513. If they are still concerned they should contact NHS Direct Wales on 0845 4647.

“People should not go to Accident and Emergency Departments or to their GP surgery as this may risk spreading the infection. It also places undue pressure on the emergency services.”

Public health advice and messages

– If you have flu-like symptoms stay at home. You can check your symptoms by calling the Swine Flu Information Line on 0800 1 513 513. If you are still concerned contact NHS Direct Wales on 0845 4647. Do not go into your GP surgery or Accident and Emergency department unless you are advised to do so or are seriously ill, as you may spread the illness to others.

– It is always good practice to follow respiratory and hand hygiene such as:

- Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue when possible.
- Disposing of dirty tissues promptly and carefully.
- Maintaining good basic hygiene, for example washing hands frequently with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to face or to other people.
- Cleaning hard surfaces (e.g. door handles) frequently using a normal cleaning product.
- Helping your children follow this advice.

Facemasks

– Although we are aware that facemasks were being given out to the public in Mexico, the available scientific evidence does not support the general wearing of facemasks by those who are not ill whilst going about their normal activities. We are, however, reviewing NHS supplies and stockpiles of facemasks for healthcare workers who are likely to come into regular contact with people who may have symptoms. The UK will receive an additional 227 million surgical facemasks and 34 million respirators. Wales will receive its proportionate share.

Control measures

– Agreements have been signed between the UK Government and vaccine manufacturers to secure enough vaccine for the whole population. The first batches are expected in August with around 60 million doses by the end of the year – enough for 30 million people to be vaccinated – with more following after that.

– The Welsh Assembly Government’s Health Emergency Preparedness Unit has issued guidance to Local Health Boards on anti-viral distribution. The unit is co-ordinating work on identifying appropriate collection points and the necessary arrangements to support this process.

Features of the outbreak

– Based on assessment of all available information and following several expert consultations, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the level of influenza pandemic alert at phase six on 11 June 2009.

– Phase six indicates there is human-to-human spread of the virus in at least two countries in one World Health Organization region, with community level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different WHO region.

– On 2 July the four UK nations agreed to move to the treatment phase in their response to the pandemic – treating people most at risk. Contact tracing and the use of antivirals preventively have been ended. GPs will now provide clinical diagnosis of swine flu cases rather than awaiting laboratory test results.

– Further information on swine flu and Pandemic Flu is available bilingually from nphs.wales.nhs

– Further information from the Welsh Assembly Government response is available bilingually at wales

Source
Welsh Assembly Government

Giving The Right Number Of “sighs” Prevents Ventilation Induced Lung Injury

Ventilation therapy burst into the public consciousness more than 60 years ago with the “iron lung” and the polio epidemic. Mechanical ventilation has come a long way since then and is used today with patients who cannot breathe on their own because of trauma, lung injuries and chronic lung disease.

But ventilation demands a delicate balance between over inflating and under inflating the lungs, either of which can lead to further injury. Researchers have found that pumping too much air overdistends the lung, leading to ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI).

Doctors currently use small amounts of air (low tidal volume) to protect against VILI. But low tidal volumes can lead to progressive closure of the lungs’ air cells, called alveoli, reducing the lung’s ability to exchange gases. One way to reverse closure of the alveoli is to periodically give a more robust puff of air, known as deep inflation.

A new study in the online edition of the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology shows that low tidal volume combined with periodic deep inflation provides the best balance between keeping the lung open and preventing VILI in mice. And, using mice, these researchers have shown for the first time that although deep inflation is necessary, it can be overdone.

“There is still a lot of controversy and uncertainty about how best to ventilate the lung,” said the study’s senior author, Jason HT Bates of the University of Vermont. “One controversy is whether deep inflations, the “sighs” that each of us takes periodically, should ever be given, and if so, how frequently.”

Researchers find optimal range

“This study demonstrates that an optimal frequency range of deep inflation delivery exists, at which point the potentially injurious effects of overdistention are outweighed by the protective benefits of maintaining a predominantly open lung,” wrote Gilman B. Allen, Benjamin T. Suratt, Lisa Rinaldi, Joseph M. Petty and Bates in the AJP-Lung paper entitled “Choosing the frequency of deep inflation in mice: balancing recruitment against ventilator-induced lung injury.”

Allen, a medical doctor with Fletcher Allen Health Care and the University of Vermont department of medicine, has treated patients on ventilation. Bates is a University of Vermont department of medicine researcher interested in lung physiology.

Ventilators are commonly used in hospital intensive care units with a variety of patients, including those with acute lung injury, acute respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, septic shock, trauma, aspiration of vomit and chemical inhalation. As a result of these conditions, fluid can build up in the lungs, blocking the alveoli. This causes the body to mount an inflammatory response, which injures the lung’s epithelial lining, Bates said. At that point, doctors provide mechanical ventilation in the intensive care unit until the body heals itself.

Bates explains the difficulty of treating the injured lung this way: “Imagine you have two balloons which you fill by pumping in air. Now imagine you have only one balloon, and you must drive the same volume of air into the one balloon as you did into two,” Bates explained. The same thing happens in the lungs. When parts of the lungs are no longer working, it places greater pressure on the portions of the lung that are working, with the remaining lung handling the air pressure that two lungs had handled.

Doctors consider tidal volume (the amount of air an individual normally inhales and exhales), deep inflation frequency (the number of deep breaths given) and PEEP (positive end-expiratory pressure), which helps keep lungs from collapsing by preventing the airways from emptying completely. PEEP also helps improve gas exchange within the lungs.

Low tidal volume, varied sigh rate

The researchers divided mice into three experimental groups. All three groups received PEEP and low tidal volume air. Each group was ventilated for two hours. The experimental groups differed according to how many deep inflations they received. They were as follows:

* HV (high volume) received one deep inflation each breath

* LV (low volume) received two deep inflations each hour

* LVDI (low volume deep inflation) received two deep inflations each minute

In addition, there were two control groups — a surgical sham, which received no ventilation, and a group that received deep inflation every breath and no PEEP.

The study found that:

* The lungs of the mice given two big breaths every minute (LVDI) remained more open and functioned better than the LV and HV.

* The lungs of the mice that received only two deep breaths per hour (LV) became stiff and portions of the lungs collapsed. However, lung function returned briefly to normal when the mice received their infrequent deep inflations. This suggests that the lungs self-repair after the deep inflation, at least over the course of the first two hours.

* The lungs of the mice that received deep inflation every breath (HV) suffered overdistention injury to their lungs. This group was akin to a high tidal volume group, once again demonstrating that low tidal volume is safer.

* The control group that received high tidal volume but no PEEP showed the highest evidence of injury, even higher than the high tidal volume group. This indicates that PEEP helps reduce the negative effects of frequent deep inflation.

“We demonstrated it’s possible to give deep breaths too frequently and too seldom,” Bates explained. The middle ground — two deep inflations per minute — provides the most benefit to the mice we studied without injuring the lungs, he said.

“We conclude that frequent deep inflation can safely improve gas exchange and lung mechanics and may confer protection from biotrauma,” the authors wrote. “Differences between LVDI and HV suggest that an optimal frequency range of deep inflation exists, within which the benefits of maintaining an open lung outweigh injury incurred from over-distention.”

Next step

“Our findings have obvious implications for the recruitment of the injured human lung during low tidal ventilation,” the authors wrote. “However, extrapolating our results to the clinical situation must be done guardedly. In the present study we employed uninjured mice, whereas it is known that the injured lung is more prone to atelectasis (collapse) than a normal lung.”

Bates’ team hopes to move to a human trial in the near future, now that they have established that deep inflation is beneficial and can be delivered with an optimal frequency.

Source

“Choosing the frequency of deep inflation in mice: balancing recruitment against ventilator-induced lung injury,” by Gilman B. Allen, Benjamin T. Suratt, Lisa Rinaldi and Joseph M. Petty and Jason HT Bates, Vermont Lung Center, Department of Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington. Allen, Suratt and Bates are also affiliated with the Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington. The study appears in the online edition of American Journal of Physiology Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology published by The American Physiological Society.

Funding

The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health’s Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence and GlaxoSmithKline.

Editor’s notes

Want to learn the latest on lung disease research? Consider attending the APS conference examining how genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics are driving new discoveries about lung disease. Researchers and clinicians will examine how to use this information to benefit patients at “Physiological Genomics and Proteomics of Lung Disease,” Nov. 2-5, Fort Lauderdale, FL. Allen Cowley Jr., editor of Physiological Genomics, and David A. Schwartz, NIH, are featured speakers.

The American Physiological Society was founded in 1887 to foster basic and applied bioscience. The Bethesda, Maryland-based society has 10,500 members and publishes 14 peer-reviewed journals containing almost 4,000 articles annually.

APS provides a wide range of research, educational and career support and programming to further the contributions of physiology to understanding the mechanisms of diseased and healthy states. In 2004, APS received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM).

Contact: Christine Guilfoy

American Physiological Society

New Study Links COX-2 Drugs To Increased Cardiac Risk

WellPoint Health Networks this week released a study that linked the COX-2 inhibitors Vioxx, Celebrex and Bextra to increased cardiovascular risk, ”
reinforcing findings of other trials” as two… FDA advisory committees on Wednesday plan to begin
meetings on the medications, the AP/Long Island Newsday reports. The study involved the records of 7,232 patients ages 40 and older who
took Vioxx, Celebrex or Bextra for at least 18 months and the records of 629,245 individuals of similar ages who did not take the medications. The study,
which WellPoint began after Merck in late September 2004 voluntarily withdrew Vioxx from the
market over safety concerns, included patient records from January 2001 through June 20, 2004. The study found that participants who took Vioxx and
Celebrex had a 20% increased risk for heart attack and stroke and that those who took Bextra had a 50% increased risk. Merck and Pfizer, which manufactures Celebrex and Bextra, have said that such studies — which retrospectively examine patient
records — are not as accurate as blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials. However, Sam Nussbaum, WellPoint executive vice president and chief medical
officer, said, “This is how drugs are used in the real world. It is an important and sound analysis.” Nussbaum added that although the study provides
additional evidence of an “increasingly compelling trend,” WellPoint will not revise a policy that requires physicians to obtain prior authorization before they
prescribe Celebrex and Bextra. However, the policy “could change depending on the outcome of the FDA hearing” on COX-2 inhibitors, the AP/
Newsday reports. Nussbaum said he had shared the study results with FDA and Pfizer. Pfizer spokesperson Mariann Caprino said that the
company has not examined the results of the study or methodology used. In addition, a Pfizer review of internal trials had found Celebrex and Bextra did
not increase cardiovascular risk. Eric Matteson, a professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology at the Mayo Clinic, called the WellPoint study
significant, adding, “All the signals are pointing in the same direction. … Clearly there is a degree of risk in these drugs and doctors need to be more
careful about prescribing them.” Matteson added that he does not expect FDA to remove Celebrex or Bextra from the market (Agovino, AP/Long Island
Newsday, 2/14).

FDA Advisory Committee Meetings
“Much rides” on the “critical” FDA advisory committee meetings
this week: consumer “confidence in painkillers, prescribing habits for doctors, and the credibility of the FDA itself, under constant fire for bungling its drug
safety oversight mission,” the Boston Globe reports (Henderson, Boston Globe, 2/15). Members of the FDA arthritis and drug safety and risk
management advisory committees on Wednesday will begin meetings to determine whether to remove COX-2 inhibitors from the market over safety
concerns. The members of the advisory committees will review hundreds of documents from FDA scientists and the manufacturers of COX-2 inhibitors
and hear testimony from scientists, physicians and patients. A committee of the European Medicines
Agency this week also plans to hold meetings on COX-2 inhibitors (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 2/14). Some witnesses at the FDA advisory committee meetings
likely will testify that COX-2 inhibitors should remain on the market with increased warnings and more restrictions on who should take the medications (
Boston Globe, 2/15). According to the Philadelphia
Inquirer, the FDA advisory committees likely will not recommend the market withdrawal of COX-2 inhibitors, but they might call for “black box”
warnings on their labels or restrictions on marketing (Vrazo et al., Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/15). Elizabeth Tindall, a clinical professor of
medicine at the Oregon Health and Science University and president of the American College of Rheumatology, said, “I’m hopeful at least Celebrex may be left alone.” Tindall, who will
testify at the meetings, added that if FDA officials do not take action on COX-2 inhibitors “they are going to be viewed as ineffectual and weak.” She
added, “That would certainly be the easiest thing for them to do, just say, ‘Well, the heck with this, we did fine without these drugs.’ But I don’t think it would
be the right thing to do” (Boston Globe, 2/15). FDA advisory committee member Arthur Levin, director of the nonpartisan Center for Medical Consumers, said that committee members might “diverge on what to do,” the
Inquirer reports (Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/15).

Meetings Could Affect Vioxx Lawsuits
Although the “spotlight
is likely to be on Pfizer” at the FDA advisory committee meetings on COX-2 inhibitors, Wall Street analysts and “battalions of lawyers will be intently
watching testimony by and about Merck” to determine whether the meetings affect the “hundreds of lawsuits” the company faces related to the Vioxx
withdrawal, the New York Times reports. The
meetings likely will include “extensive testimony” about Vioxx, although Merck officials said that the company would not provide the FDA advisory
committees with “significant documents that have not already been made public” or were not included in pretrial discovery phases, other than an analysis
of the last month of the clinical trial that prompted the company to withdraw Vioxx from the market, the Times reports. According to the
Times, the new analysis likely will not “alter significantly” the Vioxx lawsuits. Theodore Mayer, an attorney for Merck, said that the meetings
could highlight significant inconsistencies in available research on Vioxx prior to the decision by the company to withdraw the medication from the market.
Mayer said that if FDA advisory committee members “are looking for a blockbuster in terms of new data from the past or how Merck analyzed it, they are
going to be disappointed,” adding, “The company’s done an excellent job of disclosing the history.” Christopher Seeger, an attorney who represents
plaintiffs in some Vioxx lawsuits, said, “Anything short of an outright condemnation of how Merck handled this drug will disappoint me.” He added, “If they
aren’t criticized, Merck will stand up in court and say the FDA looked at this again and said it did nothing wrong” (Feder, New York Times, 2/
15).

Clinical Trial Study
Vioxx, Celebrex and Arcoxia, a COX-2 inhibitor manufactured by Merck that received “tentative approval” from
FDA last fall, cause a “somewhat greater” elevation in blood pressure than placebos and older pain medications, according to a study published on
Tuesday in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the Globe reports. The study analyzed 19 clinical trials published before May
2004. According to the Globe, the study also found “possible bias in industry-financed studies.” Eric Topol, chair of the department of
cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, said, “The new analysis supports the concept that blood pressure elevation, especially pronounced with
Vioxx, is in part responsible for the excess in heart attacks and strokes” (Boston Globe, 2/15).

Sidney Wolfe Profile
The
Times on Tuesday profiled Sidney Wolfe,
director of the health research group at Public Citizen, who over the past 34 years has “condemned dozens of high-priced medicines and denounced their
makers,” fought “companies rich and poor and … angered just about every constituency in the health care industry.” Wolfe, who in April 2001 raised safety
concerns over Vioxx and Celebrex, “has been shouting about deficiencies at the FDA since the first Nixon administration,” the Times reports.
Wolfe has petitioned FDA to withdraw 27 medications, 16 of which were later removed from the market. According to the Times, the “knock
on Dr. Wolfe” — who takes no prescription or over-the-counter medications, although “his cholesterol is about 230″ — is that he “hates all drugs.” Wolfe
said that he has supported approval for important medications and that he considers many prescription drugs beneficial. Alan Goldhammer, associate
vice president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said, “Unfortunately, Dr. Wolfe often presents a distorted picture of today’s
innovative industry and its medicines. He ignores important benefits that new drugs bring to millions of patients.” Michael Jacobson, executive director of
the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said that Wolfe is “almost unique in the world of drugs. He spends his life systematically looking for
problems, and he finds a remarkable number” (Harris, New York Times, 2/15).

“Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork kaisernetwork. You can
view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork/dailyreports/healthpolicy. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for
kaisernetwork, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation . © 2005 Advisory Board
Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

View drug information on Bextra; Vioxx.

King Of Pop’s Reported Diagnosis Sheds Light On Relatively Unknown Disease

In light of reports that Michael Jackson is suffering from a rare respiratory condition caused by Alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency, Jeffrey Teckman, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics, biochemistry and molecular biology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, is available to talk about the diagnosis, causes and treatment of the disease. Teckman has published extensive research on Alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency and is recognized as one of the leading authorities in the country on the disease.

Alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency is a relatively common, yet highly undiagnosed genetic disease which can affect the liver, lungs and skin. By mapping out the injury cascade (how the disease progresses) that occurs in patients with Alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency, Teckman has opened the door for testing of potential treatments for the disease.

“When a normal person comes in contact with a germ, either through skin exposure or breathing it into their lungs, the body sends white blood cells, which dump toxic chemicals on the germ to digest it. The purpose of alpha 1-antitrypsin is to keep these toxic chemicals from harming the lungs or skin,” explained Teckman, who also is the director of gastroenterology and hepatology at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis.

However, in people with Alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency, the liver produces Alpha 1-antitrypsin but fails to secrete the glycoprotein into the blood, which leads to a blood deficiency and an excess of the glycoprotein in the liver.

“Without alpha 1-antitrypsin the body is essentially attacking itself. Over time this can lead to emphysema and hepatocellular carcinoma,” Teckman said.

According to Teckman, there are at least 100,000 people in America living with this disease, but the majority of them are undiagnosed. While many people with the disease will go on to live a normal life, Alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency can be fatal.

“Diagnosis is important because lifestyle changes can impact the progression of the disease,” Teckman said. “It’s especially important for people with Alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency to avoid smoking and watch their weight.”

Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: cancer, liver disease, heart/lung disease, aging and brain disease, and infectious disease.

Saint Louis University Medical Center
3525 Caroline Mall
St. Louis
MO 63104
United States
slu/pr

Statement By WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran On Record Purchases From Developing Nations

The World Food Programme (WFP) procured $ 1.25 billion in food commodities last year, including the purchase of more food than ever before from developing nations. This food came from 96 nations, including Ethiopia, Vietnam, and Guatemala, and helped people affected by the epic flooding in Pakistan, the earthquake in Haiti, and the drought in the Sahel region of Africa.

During a time of record food prices, this investment saves lives and protects livelihoods by harnessing the purchasing power of WFP, one of the largest food buyers in the world, to invest in the agricultural economies of developing nations and deliver food assistance directly to the hungry poor who are most affected by natural disasters, wars and displacement. In 2010, WFP purchased wheat, maize, rice and also special nutritious products, which are packed with the vitamins and nutrients mothers and young children need in the critical 1,000 day window from the womb to 2 years of age, where failure to get the right foods can cause irreversible damage.

More than 80 percent of all food WFP bought last year came from developing countries. WFP’s capacity to efficiently purchase has been enhanced by the growing quota of cash contributions and by new and innovative hunger tools. Among these are advance purchase mechanisms, which allow the use of cash to buy centrally in advance and in bulk when prices are lower. This approach allows us to save money, save delivery time and – most importantly – save lives.

Source:

WFP

$4.5 Million CDC Grant Funds Yale Center For Public Health Preparedness

To ensure that the public health workforce in Connecticut and beyond is able to mount a swift, coordinated response to disasters, acts of terrorism and disease outbreaks, the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale (EPH) will use a $4.5 million, five-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to establish the Yale Center for Public Health Preparedness.

The Yale Center is part of a network of 52 CDC-funded centers nationwide. The Center staff will assess the preparedness training and education needs of Connecticut’s public health workforce, develop and adapt continuing education curricula to meet those needs and, in collaboration with Connecticut’s state and local health departments, ensure that the necessary training is provided. The Yale Center will also collaborate with other CDC-funded centers to identify and fill gaps in preparedness training, and will increase the breadth and depth of the public health preparedness curriculum available to Yale M.P.H. and Ph.D. students.

“In the wake of hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, public health preparedness and training for both our existing public health work force and our students is imperative,” said Brian Leaderer, Susan Dwight Bliss Professor, Interim Dean of Public Health, and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, who serves as principal investigator on the grant.

Leaderer said the grant will allow Yale students and the Connecticut public health community to be on the cutting edge of research and training and will allow Yale to become an important resource for preparedness education. “The Yale Center will collaborate with other CDC Public Health Preparedness Centers in order to maximize resources and disseminate new information pertaining to emergency preparedness and response.”

The Center’s director is Linda Degutis, associate professor of Surgery in the Section of Emergency Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine and associate professor of epidemiology in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences at EPH. Her joint appointment provides a critical link between the experts who will staff the Yale Center, housed in Yale EPH, and the emergency response resources of the School of Medicine and Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Degutis said, “Preparing for public health emergencies requires collaboration among not only public health professionals, but other partners in preparedness and response: clinicians, administrators, law enforcement, public safety, media and the community at large. Through the activities of the Yale Center, and its relationship to other Centers in the network, we will be able to work toward the goal of preparedness for all hazards.”

Public health preparedness has been a concern at Yale EPH for several years. In response to the events of September 11, Yale EPH added three courses on disaster preparedness and biohazards to its M.P.H. curriculum and has taken a highly collaborative approach to providing various kinds of preparedness training for public health professionals in the state. Through its academic and practice partnerships, over 100 courses have been delivered, representing over 3,000 participant contact hours.

Contact: Karen N. Peart
karen.peartyale
Yale University

Alzheimer’s Symptoms And Depression Do Not Change Together

While there is a correlation between individuals with depression and
the development of Alzheimer’s disease, it appears that the symptoms of
depression do not increase in the years before an Alzheimer’s
diagnosis, according to a report released on April 7, 2008 in the
JAMA/Archives journal Archives of General Psychiatry.

Previous studies have shown that patients with Alzheimer’s or its
precursor, mild cognitive impairment, have higher levels of depressive
symptoms, which include feeling sad or a diminished ability to feel
pleasure. According to the article, this association’s causality is not
clear. “The basis of this
association is uncertain, however,” the authors write. “A leading
hypothesis is that depressive symptoms do not constitute a true risk
factor but rather a consequence of the disease.” If hypothesis was
true, the symptoms of depression would coincide with the symptoms of
Alzheimer’s, and thus increase in the early stages of the disease.

To investigate the cause of the correlation, Robert S. Wilson, Ph.D.,
of Rush University
Medical Center, Chicago, and colleagues examined older Catholic nuns,
priests, and monks who did not have dementia. A total 917 patients were
examined beginning in 1994. They were evaluated early
by: neurological examination; cognitive exam investigating
thinking, learning, and memory; classification for Alzheimer’s disease
or mild cognitive impairment; and a ten item scale to access their
symptoms of depression.

When the study began, 53.6% of participants presented no symptoms of
depression, 23.9% reported one symptom, 9.7% reported two, 6.1%
reported three, and 6.8% reported more. In the later examination, 20.7%
of the individuals (190) developed the disease. If someone displayed
symptoms of depression at the beginning of the study, he was more
likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease by the end.

However, the levels of symptoms did not change at the same time: “those
who developed Alzheimer’s
disease showed no increase in depressive symptoms before the diagnosis
was made, and this finding was not modified by age, sex, education,
memory complaints, vascular burden or personality,” say the authors.
“Among those without cognitive impairment at baseline, depressive
symptoms did not increase in those who subsequently developed mild
cognitive impairment.” This indicates that depression is not a
consequence of Alzheimer’s, but rather a risk factor for the
development of dementia.

The authors offer the explanation that depression may intrinsically
change the brain to make it less resistant to dementia. They add:
“Understanding the mechanisms linking depressive
symptoms with dementia could suggest novel approaches to delaying
dementia onset because animal research suggests diverse means by which
the adverse effects of chronic stress may be modified.”

Change in Depressive Symptoms During the Prodromal Phase of
Alzheimer Disease
Robert S. Wilson, PhD; Steven E. Arnold, MD; Todd L. Beck, MS; Julia L.
Bienias, ScD; David A. Bennett, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008;65(4):439-445.
Click
Here For Abstract

Anna Sophia McKenney

Scientist Discovers Clue In Mysterious Lung Disease

Even though it affects more than 5 million people world-wide,* pulmonary fibrosis remains a mysterious and incurable disease. A recent discovery could someday change that. Researchers have uncovered a clue as to how this devastating lung disease is formed, and how they might try to stop it.

He may not be able to exercise like he used to, and he may have to use oxygen when he does, but William Griffith refuses to let pulmonary fibrosis take over his life.

“I’ve not allowed it to. I’ve done as much as I think I can do physically,” says Griffith.

Which is remarkable considering William is reminded of his condition with every breath he takes. Scar tissue is slowly building up in his lungs and cutting off his air, and doctors aren’t exactly sure why. But Clay Marsh, MD, and a team of researchers at Ohio State University Medical Center may have uncovered a clue. They found lungs with pulmonary fibrosis contain large amounts of a human growth factor called m-csf. Normally, it is vital to good health.

“Without this factor our bones don’t form. If you’re a woman, you can’t make milk. In babies, the teeth don’t form right,” says Dr. Marsh.

But if you have too much of it in the lungs, you get pulmonary fibrosis. Marsh says this is the first time researchers have identified these growth factor cells as a part of the problem. Part of the reason is that these cells can apparently take on different forms.

“There’s evidence that these cells, once they get to the lung, may be able to transform, much like a chameleon could, and really perform much different functions than was previously ascribed to these cells,” says Dr. Marsh.

So instead of acting as a growth factor, they might be causing some of the damage. It’s just a first step in understanding this mysterious disease, but William hopes it will touch off a domino effect that might someday lead to a cure.

The next step is to develop ways to control the m-csf growth factor so that it does what it is supposed to do and nothing else. Marsh’s study was published recently in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

*What is Pulmonary Fibrosis?, Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, October 2007

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American Red Cross Responding To Midwest Tornadoes – More Than 400 Men, Women And Children In Red Cross Shelters

A deadly tornado struck southwestern Kansas Friday night, destroying most of the town of Greensburg. As local officials continue search and rescue efforts in Greensburg, KS, the American Red Cross is preparing safe shelter, food and relief services for those affected by the tornado.

Red Cross staff, volunteers, emergency response vehicles (ERVs) and mobile feeding units are mobilizing from Red Cross Chapters across Kansas to help their neighbors in need. Red Cross workers have set up emergency shelters in the affected Kansas counties, providing food, water and other services.

Due to widespread power and telecommunication outages, family and friends may not be able to reach each other. If you have been affected by the tornado, please visit redcross and click on Safe and Well to inform your loved ones of your well-being. This secure website provides a way for you to identify yourself as “safe and well.” From a list of standard messages, you can select those you want to communicate to your family members – who may be worried about your safety. If you hear from a loved one in the affected area, you can input their information so other family members will also know their well-being.

As with any other Red Cross service or product, Safe and Well safeguards the privacy of disaster victims and protects their information according to privacy law standards. Messages – but not locations – will be viewable by friends and family. The Red Cross recommends that people affected should determine how best to communicate their contact information and whereabouts to family members. During the initial hours of this disaster it is important to stay connected with loved ones. Take action now by visiting redcross.

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disaster. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster, please do so at the time of your donation. Call 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting redcross.